Frequent road blocks in the eastern highway

Heavy rainfall in the Trashigang and Samdrup Jongkhar highway has caused road blocks in numerous areas, and vehicles plying between the two dzongkhags were stranded overnight.

The major road blocks in three different areas have delayed the public transport buses and the truck ferrying potatoes to the auction yard in Samdrup Jongkhar.

At this time, the farmers from east who have completed harvesting their cash crops take their stock to Samdrup Jongkhar for sale. Unfortunately, numerous blocks have not only delayed for swift business, but also spoil their goods having to wait for overnight to clear the road blocks in numerous places.

Monsoon this year has come down hard on the farmers when most of their crops were damaged by incessant rainfall and slow business hampered by road blocks after the harvest.

The major road block occurred in Migtangkhar that is about 41 km away from Samdrup Jongkhar which took a few days to clear due to heavy showers that made work difficult for the laborers.

Road blocks also occurred in Tabgang and Shegpashing under Smadrup Jongkhar, and were cleared within few hours yesterday.

According to the base-in-charge of Road Safety and Transport Authority (RSTA) Thrungrab Dorji, the majority of blocks have occurred in areas where road widening and cutting has taken place and with the slight rainfall, the boulders and soils come down to the road leading serious inconveniences to the commuters.

He said that at this time of monsoon season, blocks in various places is difficult to clear and is risky at the same time for the laborers to clear the debris as fast as possible, as the boulders above the road keeps falling constantly and piling on the road.

The base-in-charge also said that the RSTA advice the motorists not to ply during heavy rainfall as the road blocks are expected and risky at the same time. “We consult the GREF (general reserve engineering force) officials before allowing the vehicles to ply from Samdrup Jongkhar and Trashigang,” he said.

During the massive block, he said that RSTA officials even visit to the site and conduct safety shifting of the stranded passengers.

The laborers in the site shared that the road block in Migtangkahr is difficult to clear as the block is massive and the unremitting rainfall has made the soil and boulders loose and it piles on the road the moment they clear it. Further, they said that the visibility is very poor due heavy rainfall and thick fog in the area.

However, GREF has kept an excavator in the landslide prone areas to provide timely service to the commuters. Currently, one excavator is deployed in each landslide prone area.

The highway also affected the recent National Assembly elections as voters and political party members faced difficulties with transportation.

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